Sean Taylor Fallout: An African-American Epidemic

Pro Football NYCSenior Writer INovember 27, 2007 the past several years, NFL players have had consistent run-ins with the law.

Falcons QB Michael Vick, for example, pled guilty to federal dogfighting charges and is currently negotiating his prison stay with authorities.

Vick is one of many NFL players who have made police blotters around the country.

The crime wave has been met with outrage and protest by American sports fans—but another rash of incidents has seemed to escape public attention: incidents in which NFL players have been the victims of violent crime.

In the summer of 2005, Philadelphia Eagles defensive lineman Jerome McDougle was shot during a robbery attempt . McDougle survived, but the wound has plagued him to the degree that he's only played 28 games in his five-year career.

On November 7th, 2006, University of Miami defensive lineman Bryan Pata, a 22-year-old projected to be an NFL first-rounder, was gunned down outside his home in Miami. He died at the scene.

Last New Years' Eve, Denver defensive back Darrent Williams was killed in a drive-by shooting in Denver. He was 24 years old.

And this morning, 24-year-old Sean Taylor, a Pro Bowl safety for the Washington Redskins and the fifth overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft, died of a gunshot wound he received during and an encounter with an intruder in his home.

The media treats these incidents as tragedies. They soft-soap the stories with tears and tributes and shield the public from the bigger issue at hand:

Too many young African-American males are dying of gunshot wounds.

My plea to America is to address this issue. Don't sit there in your barcaloungers and say it can't happen to me.

Sean Taylor was awakened from his bed when he was shot. Darrent Williams was in the back of a limousine. Bryan Pata was in front of his home. Jerome McDougle was carjacked.

Let's call it like it is: There's an epidemic in America that needs to be stopped.

I would be remiss if did not mention that Pata, Taylor, and McDougle all attended the University of Miami, and that their shootings all occurred in Miami.